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A USA Today Top 10 Best Book of Winter 2014

"Equals Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as a nonfiction novel of crime.”―Gerald Bartell, San Francisco Chronicle

In the summer of 1998, Walter Kirn―then an aspiring novelist struggling with impending fatherhood and a dissolving marriage―set out on a peculiar, fateful errand: to personally deliver a crippled hunting dog from his home in Montana to the New York apartment of one Clark Rockefeller, a secretive young banker and art collector who had adopted the dog over the Internet. Thus began a fifteen-year relationship that drew Kirn deep into the fun-house world of an outlandish, eccentric son of privilege who ultimately would be unmasked as a brazen serial impostor, child kidnapper, and brutal murderer.

Kirn's one-of-a-kind story of being duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley takes us on a bizarre and haunting journey from the posh private clubrooms of Manhattan to the hard-boiled courtrooms and prisons of Los Angeles. As Kirn uncovers the truth about his friend, a psychopath masquerading as a gentleman, he also confronts hard truths about himself. Why, as a writer of fiction, was he susceptible to the deception of a sinister fantasist whose crimes, Kirn learns, were based on books and movies? What are the hidden psychological links between the artist and the con man? To answer these and other questions, Kirn attends his old friend’s murder trial and uses it as an occasion to reflect on both their tangled personal relationship and the surprising literary sources of Rockefeller's evil. This investigation of the past climaxes in a tense jailhouse reunion with a man whom Kirn realizes he barely knew―a predatory, sophisticated genius whose life, in some respects, parallels his own and who may have intended to take another victim during his years as a fugitive from justice: Kirn himself.

Combining confessional memoir, true crime reporting, and cultural speculation, Blood Will Out is a Dreiser-esque tale of self-invention, upward mobility, and intellectual arrogance. It exposes the layers of longing and corruption, ambition and self-delusion beneath the Great American con.

8 pages of illustrations Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: An epigraph from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley says much about what’s to come in Walter Kirn’s remarkable confessional: “He was versatile, and the world was wide!” When Kirn first met Clark Rockefeller, he was smitten by the man’s wealth and eccentricities. Coming off a failed marriage (to the daughter of Thomas McGuane and Margot Kidder), Kirn was a bit of a wreck, as was Rockefeller. The two men were drawn to each other. As the friendship progressed--into some uneasy terrain--Kirn ignored the clues “spread out for [him] to read,” and plowed ahead to become a confidant and enabler. Except, it turns out, Clark wasn’t a Rockefeller at all. Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter was, as Kirn puts it, “the most prodigious serial imposter in recent history.” He was also a murderer. So what did that make Kirn? “A fool,” he admits, “a stubborn fool.” This is a compulsively readable, can’t-look-away book and, ultimately, a brave piece of work. Kirn has laid himself bare: his failed marriage, his Ritalin reliance, his misguided allegiance to a sociopath. In exposing his own “ignorance and vanity,” what Kirn has really crafted here is the story of a bamboozled writer who for fifteen years ignored the big story right under his nose; who, in trusting his imposter friend, “violated my storyteller’s oath.” With Blood Will Out, Kirn has impressively restored his storyteller’s credentials. --Neal Thompson

Abandoned in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever


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Abandoned in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever by Brand: Anchor
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A New York Times Notable Book
A Daily Beast Best Book of the Year
A Huffington Post Best Book of the Year

From elementary school on, Walter Kirn knew how to stay at the top of his class: He clapped erasers, memorized answer keys, and parroted his teachers’ pet theories. But when he launched himself eastward to an Ivy League university, Kirn discovered that the temple of higher learning he had expected was instead just another arena for more gamesmanship, snobbery, and social climbing. In this whip-smart memoir of kissing-up, cramming, and competition, Lost in the Meritocracy reckons the costs of an educational system where the point is simply to keep accumulating points and never to look back—or within. 

Q&A: Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn, author of "Lost in the Meritocracy," speaks about his years at Princeton University in the 1980s. Program from July 5, 2009.

'Fourth of July Creek' wins Montana Book Award - Ravalli Republic

"Fourth of July Creek," a novel written by Hellgate High School and University of Montana graduate Smith Henderson, has won the 2014 Montana Book Award. The annual award "recognizes literary and/or artistic excellence in a book written or illustrated by someone who lives in Montana, is set in Montana, or deals with Montana themes or issues," according to organizers. "Fourth of July Creek" is the debut novel from Henderson, who now lives in Portland, Oregon. He tells the story of Pete Snow, a social worker who struggles to help the child of a paranoid backwoods survivalist in the fictional county of Rimrock. Snow, who veers between a remote Yaak cabin and Missoula, struggles with a fractured family, a runaway daughter and a drinking problem while trying to fend off a conflict between the survivalist and the authorities. "This debut novel is a timely and unflinching meditation on freedom, community, paranoia, dignity, rugged independence, and the reverberations of brutality and neglect in the lives of the most innocent," according to the news release. Three other books were cited for honors this year:. "Astoria," (Ecco/HarperCollins) by Peter Stark of Missoula: The adventure and outdoors writer retells the story of the troubled, forgotten westward expedition of John Jacob Astor. "Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition," the release said. "Blood Will Out" (WW Norton & Co. ) by Walter Kirn of Livingston: The "Up in the Air" novelist and journalist developed a 15-year relationship with Clark Rockefeller, whom he assumed was an East Coast socialite. "The Ploughmen" (Henry Holt) by Kim Zupan of Missoula: A jailed killer and the deputy entrusted with standing watch develop an unlikely bond that explores their commonalities and differences in the former rodeo competitor's debut novel. Presentations and a reception with the winning authors will take place on April 8, during the Montana Library Association Conference in Bozeman. The Montana Book Award was founded by the Friends of the Missoula Public Library in 2001, with winners selected by a committee of individuals representing areas throughout Montana. Members of the 2014 Montana Book Award committee included Dale Alger, Roundup. Bradin Farnworth, Missoula. Source:

Latest News

  • 'Fourth of July Creek' wins Montana Book Award

    02/24/15 ,via Ravalli Republic

    by Walter Kirn of Livingston: The "Up in the Air" novelist and journalist developed a 15-year relationship with Clark Rockefeller, whom he assumed was an East Coast socialite. Like many, he found he'd been duped by a murderous imposter. "The Ploughmen" 

  • Walter Kirn on being conned by a murderer

    11/02/14 ,via

    People are always saying to me, how could you fall for it? How could you be so blind? How could you be such a fool?' The American author and journalist Walter Kirn, 52, eating a brunch omelette in his adopted hometown of Livingston, Montana, is a 


Congratulations to Smith Henderson, Kim Zupan, Peter Stark, and Walter Kirn! 02/25/15, @HumanitiesMT
Art, art of any kind, shows that folks are trying. ~Walter Kirn #Quotes 02/25/15, @KyBunnies
Looks like Excerpt From Walter Kirn s Blood Will Out was created at 02/25/15, @VapeWiki


  • Vichyssoise Recipe

    buttermilk, heavy cream, seasoning, leek, chives, butter, vegetable broth, white pepper, potato


  • Up in the Air

    Hachette UK. 2010. ISBN: 9781848543614,1848543611. 300 pages.

    Ryan Bingham's job as a Career Transition Counselor (he fires people) has kept him airborne for years. He hates his job, but he loves 'Airworld', finding happiness in pressurized cabins and anonymous hotel rooms, and pursuing a noble ultimate goal: one million frequent flier miles. With sharp wit, and wisdom, Up in the Air combines brilliant social observation with an acute sense of the modern mind. It is a story for unsettled times.

Bing news feed

  • 'Fourth of July Creek' wins Montana Book Award

    02/24/15 ,via Ravalli Republic

    "Blood Will Out" (WW Norton & Co.) by Walter Kirn of Livingston: The "Up in the Air" novelist and journalist developed a 15-year relationship with Clark Rockefeller, whom he assumed was an East Coast socialite. Like many, he found he'd been duped by a ...

  • Book review: The 'Whipping Boy' who set out to find his childhood bully

    02/16/15 ,via The Roanoke Times

    With the success of the prototypical work of this new genre, Walter Kirn’s “Blood Will Out,” the template was born: a lot of introspective reflection, some hand-wringing along the lines of “how did I not figure out this person was bad?”

  • From The Ivy League To 'The X-Files': David Duchovny's Big Break

    02/02/15 ,via WBUR

    In fact, he'd originally planned to be a poet. "It's funny," he says. "[As an undergraduate] at Princeton, Walter Kirn — who's a terrific novelist — he was a year younger than me. And he was an actual poet. And I think when I read Walter's stuff ...


Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn is the author of eight books and an e-book. His most recent is Blood Will Out, a memoir of his friendship with the con artist and murderer, Clark Rockefeller.

Walter Kirn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter Kirn (born August 3, 1962) is an American novelist, literary critic, and essayist. He is the author of eight books, most notably Up in the Air, which was made ...

Walter Kirn - IMDb

Walter Kirn, Writer: Up in the Air. Walter Kirn is an actor and writer, known for Up in the Air (2009), Thumbsucker (2005) and Red Eye (2007).

walter kirn (@walterkirn) | Twitter - Welcome to Twitter ...

The latest Tweets from walter kirn (@walterkirn). Author of the NYTimes bestseller Blood Will Out abt my unsuspecting ten-year friendship w/ the impostor and murderer ...

Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn Wants You To Surrender Your Gun Rights To Appear ...

Walter Kirn Wants You To Surrender Your Gun Rights To Appear ...

Walter Kirn

Walter Kirn
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